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Report: Rangers out on Yu Darvish

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When this free agent stalemate ends, don’t expect the Rangers to be one of the teams pushing to sign Yu Darvish. Club GM Jon Daniels said Friday that although they continue to maintain contact with the ace right-hander, “it’s very unlikely that we’re ultimately going to bring in one of the upper-end pitchers at this point.”

That seems to suggest that the likes of Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn are off the table, though the Rangers could still try to add a few inexpensive depth pieces to their pitching staff before Opening Day. They’re projected to start the year with a rotation of Cole Hamels, Martin Perez, Doug Fister, Matt Moore and Mike Minor, and have a plethora of minor league pitchers who could conceivably step into a starting role if need be.

While Darvish has enjoyed a long relationship with the team, he isn’t exactly positioning himself to hand out any hometown discounts this offseason. The 31-year-old righty is reportedly seeking something close to $175 million in a multiyear deal, and another report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic indicates that Darvish is simply biding his time until either the Yankees or Dodgers clear space on their payroll for such an offer.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.